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Opinion

Acknowledge troops and war, bring soldiers home

Price is a junior broadcast major and can be contacted at ryan.price@drake.edu

I know now why my mom cried constantly at the thought of me enlisting in the military.

Thirteen.

That’s the number of brave, courageous Americans who died helplessly in a single instant while riding a bus in Afghanistan last week in a “secured” NATO convoy.

Their training, their courage, their skills and their intellect were no match for the faceless enemies the United States is, somehow, supposed to face in Afghanistan.

The bus they rode in was named the “Rhino Runner” for its heavy, impenetrable armor. But even the rhino flew several yards with the force of the blast.

Just after the blast, the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai issued a statement condemning the attack without noting the loss of American life. This came just days after he issued a statement signaling Afghanistan would support Pakistan if Pakistan ever went to war with the U.S.

Instantly, reflexively, a thought springs to mind: what the hell are we still doing there?

Let me ask you an intentionally offensive question: Does it seem possible for 13 lost American lives to look small?

It doesn’t.

Yet this disaster pales in comparison to one just three months ago on Aug. 6 when 30 highly trained American sons, sisters, uncles and soldiers lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan.

This disaster seems almost trivial in light of the nearly 2,800 coalition troops who have already lost their lives in Afghanistan, and when the death of 13 Americans seems trivial, something is profoundly wrong.

Infantry transports become hearses.

Lives turn to bodies.

Relationships dwindle to memories.

And we do nothing but watch.

My mom may have cried me out of joining the military several years ago, but 13 mothers are crying today for their lost children.

Instead of supporting our troops and contractors, we continue to shop, party, eat and commute as if there isn’t a war going on at all.

This should give all a reason to stop and to reflect.

It should give us a reason to be angry.

It should give politicians a reason to lead.

It should give Afghanis a reason to take control of the misguided violence that represents no specific religion or person but represents the power-hungry forces that have dominated world history for too long now.

As the 2012 presidential election heats up for all sides – Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, tea party patriots, occupiers and independents- – we the voters must demand that the Afghanistan War is a central question and conversation in the election.

Enough of the “I’ll listen to the commanders on the ground” veiled political cowardice.

It’s time to support the troops and their families.

It’s time to bring them home.

1 Comment

  1. Micah November 6, 2011

    I understand the pain that is caused by the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, but there is a bigger picture that the majority of Americans cannot see. Whether they refuse to do some homework or they are just plain ignorant. There is so much going on in the world that Americans have no clue about. There is so much happening that even people like myself who spend half of each year in the middle east dont even know about. if the general American public could even see a qtr. of the big picture, I assure you, they would change their minds about bringing the troops home. You have no clue the chaos that would ensue if we were to leave Afghanistan, we will soon see if we left Iraq too soon. Wake up, do your homework before you start preaching to bring the troops home. We have to do more than just sit on our land and shoot at people that come to harm us. Its not anywhere near that simple, and it wouldn’t work. Those that fight in the US Armed Forces choose to do so. They choose to do so because they have done their homework, and have realized how important is is to fight. Not just fight on our soil, but on “their soil”. I commend your desire to support our men and women of the US Armed Forces, but I suggest you change your tactics. Don’t support them by claiming “It’s time to bring them home”, that does’nt support anybody but yourself and your ignorance about the war. Support our troops by finding out how they truly need support. Find out what they really need. I promise you, they dont want the American public crying for them to come home, for one because they are not going to come home any time soon and for two, its not encouraging. Our troops need encouragement, love and connections. Do your part in this war…do your homework. Send your love and encouragement to the brave men and women in Afghanistan.

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